ALL MEN TO BE DRAWN
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
John 12: 32
OUR TEXT has been widely misunderstood by many of our Christian friends. Many believe it could be paraphrased as follows: “I, if I be glorified, will draw all men unto my glorified condition.” The lifting up, however, refers to our Lord’s being lifted up on the cross. This may be seen by reading the following verse (v. 33): “This he said, signifying what death he should die.” The Greek word for “lifted” in our text is hupsoo, and is the same word used in John 3: 14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” Moses did not glorify the serpent, but he placed it upon a pole (Numbers 21). Moses’ lifting up the serpent upon the pole is typical of our Lord’s being lifted up upon the cross.
It is true that Jesus was glorified in His resurrection and ascension, but our text does not refer to His glorification. The Jews misunderstood His message to them as we see from verse 34: “We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up.” When properly understood, the text teaches that the cross of Christ is the center of the plan of redemption, that the death of Christ is the only way that mankind can come back into harmony with God. We read in John 1: 29: “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The drawing of mankind is dependent upon the death of Christ.
Nearly two thousand years has elapsed since the ransom price for sinners was laid down, yet the vast majority of men are still in ignorance of the great gift. They have not been drawn, in fact, an even greater mass of mankind – those who have died – have not been drawn. Our faith looks to the Millennial Age for the fulfillment of our text. God’s infinite wisdom arranged for four thousand years to elapse from father Adam’s fall into sin until the ransom was laid down; so should we not presume a long period of time after the ransom had been laid down before the general drawing of mankind would begin? But why has it been nearly two thousand years? Here is where God’s love and wisdom shines out.
Gospel Age Drawing
The drawing power of God has been active during the Gospel Age, but it has acted upon a special class – those who will be associated with Christ in the great work of blessing, drawing and saving all the willing and obedient among the human family. John 6: 44 reads, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” It is the Father who draws to Christ during the Gospel Age. The main class whom He has drawn is the Bride of Christ, the Little Flock. But He also has drawn other subordinate classes – the Great Company, the secondary spiritual class, and the Youthful Worthies and Consecrated Epiphany Campers – non-spirit-begotten consecrated ones, who will, with the Ancient Worthies, form the earthly phase of God’s coming Kingdom.
2 Corinthians 5: 14 reads, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” God does force anyone to Christ during the Gospel Age. The consecrated Christian’s sufferings, self-denials and self-sacrifice, even unto death, are voluntary. The power which constrains or draws them to Christ is the Truth. For those who are “feeling after God,” He first reveals mankind’s fallen condition in sin and condemnation. But He then informs them that He has made provision for their recovery through faith in Christ and consecration to God. The Truth received into good and honest hearts is a strong power, as we read in Philippians 2: 13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
Millennial Age Drawing
A knowledge of this same Truth, of which the lifting up of Christ is the foundation principle, will also be the drawing power in the Millennial Age. But then, there will no longer be besetments, or drawings of the Adversary in the opposite direction, for Satan will be bound and unable to tempt mankind. Consecration to God will no longer cost as much as it does now, for consecration will then be unto life, whereas at present it is unto death. A highway will be cast up, all stumbling stones will be gathered out and no ravenous beasts of prey (no fierce temptations) will be there. Instead, the ransomed of the Lord shall walk there with none to molest or to make them afraid. They shall go forth with joy, led forth with peace and every influence shall be in their favor.
Isaiah 35: 8: “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
Isaiah 62: 10: “Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.”
Christ is not only the Ransomer of mankind, but also its Deliverer, to free those whom He purchased with His own precious blood from the shackles of sin, ignorance, prejudice, perverted tastes, inherited weaknesses and from the tomb itself. The living generations are also prisoners of Satan, bound for the tomb, the great prison in which he has confined all past generations. The great Deliverer who redeemed them must set them free from the great prison before they can be drawn to Him.
Drawn, not Forced
During the Millennial Reign of Christ, the people will be drawn, not forced to Christ, for the same principle will operate in the Millennial Age as it does now. At present, the Father draws individuals to Christ by His Word, spirit and providences, but He does not use force. During Christ’s Mediatorial Reign, the Son will draw all men to Himself, but will not force or compel them to Himself. Neither God nor Christ has ever, nor ever will violate the free moral agency of any of God’s creatures. The consecrated are not compelled; they may go away if they wish, but if they choose to do so, at what a disastrous cost to themselves!
The Lord’s drawing of all men to Himself in the next Age will consist of showing them the Truth and the advantages of righteousness, and evil and the disadvantages of sin. All who choose righteousness will obtain the gift of life as a reward; and God will cut off from life all who will not be willing to conform their lives to the law of righteousness. John 4: 24 reads, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” God desires those who worship Him to do so because they desire to do so. Not such as could not do otherwise, not such as would do so under restraint, nor such as are frightened into His service; but such who do so voluntarily, from love and appreciation of His principles of righteousness, and of Himself, which these represent.
When the restitution work is completed at the end of the Millennial Age, Christ will turn over the restored human race to the Father (1 Corinthians 15: 28). During the Little Season God will give restored mankind a final test to determine those who are worthy and those who are unworthy of eternal life. Christ, as the Father’s Agent, will be the great Judge who will pronounce to the worthy: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25: 34). And to the unworthy He will pronounce: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire [cutting off], prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25: 41). We may surely thank God that none will be eternally tortured, as the creeds of the Dark Ages taught us. We read in Ezekiel 18: 20: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” – go into the Second Death.
By the end of the Little Season God will have what He had originally planned – a clean universe, inhabited by perfect creatures, as Revelation 21: 4 reads: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” May we permit the drawing power of God to have full sway in our lives, unto His glory and our edification.
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